Tired after a long day of travel (in no way do I regret saving £30 by booking a flight rather with two changes rather than a direct one to get me from Houston to Bentonville - oh no) but thought I'd just jot down a few thoughts on Bentonville / Arkansas so far. Walmart brings me here - and along with Detroit is probably one of the highlights of the trip for me in terms of my research project for the Roosevelt Scholarship.
In no particular order;
- when flying into Northwest Arkansas airport I was struck by how green the countryside was. I'd developed this mental image of Bentonville as a sprawling industrial city but it's a pretty small place (about 35,000 people) and set in some great countryside - not for nothing is Arkansas called 'The Natural State'. I think I'll fit in a visit to the Ozark National Forest whilst I'm here.
- in the airport the majority of adverts on the walls are for companies focusing on retail and Walmart - offering to help with your supply chain, merchandising, sales etc etc - first sign of a true company town.
- the map you get with your hire-car shows all the Walmart head office locations alongside hotels and restaurants - nothing else is worth a mention...
- Benton County is dry - something I discuss here but had totally forgotten about. Had I remembered I might have saved myself 20 minutes wandering around a Walmart wondering where they'd put the beer...
Meetings with Bentonville City Council tomorrow - more to follow.